Attention, Twin Cities bikers. Your ever-growing numbers have captured the attention of not just one but two Minneapolis churches, which will be offering a “blessing of the bikes” May 31.
Each offers a different spin, pardon the pun. Grace-Trinity Community Church in the Uptown area is anointing bikes around 11 a.m., hosting a lakes bike ride, and winding down with mugs of Flat Tire beer.
Bikers from the Basilica of St. Mary will wheel their vehicles to the altar around 1 p.m., join in hymns and prayers, and head outside where they can be blessed, visit bike safety information booths and later take a group spin.
In a new twist this year, the basilica is inviting folks using wheelchairs, strollers and skateboards to join in its renamed “Blessing of the Wheels.”
“If it rolls, we’ll bless it,” said Stacy Glaus, basilica spokeswoman. “We want to be about all wheels that pass over our sidewalks and streets, to make sure everyone has safe travel.”
While the basilica has blessed bikers for about seven years, Grace-Trinity is new to invoking divine protection from slippery pavement, dangerous traffic, inattentive drivers and other safety hazards. The Rev. Daniel Vigilante said he is still working on the ritual, but it will coincide with a Sunday sermon about protecting nature and creation, including limiting the use of fossil fuels.
The blessing seemed like a fun way to attract the many bikers in the Uptown area, Vigilante said, especially at the start of biking season. He said he has no idea how many people will stop by. About 150 cyclists headed to the basilica last year, said Glaus.
The dual bike blessings reflect Minneapolis’ reputation as one of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities. It was ranked the third-best biking city by Bicycling Magazine, and ranked fourth for bike commuters by the U.S. Census Bureau. About 12,000 peddlers make daily bike commutes in Hennepin County.
The blessing “corresponds to our mission, which is to create and build community, not just among our own parishioners, but those around us,” said Glaus.